India hopes Bhutan will continue to keep out insurgents

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Thimphu, May 16 (UNI) Four years after the Bhutanese army evicted North-East insurgent groups that had set up camps on its soil, India today hoped the Himalayan Kingdom would continue to ensure that its territory was not used for anti-Indian activities ''We look forward to continuing our cooperation with you on issues relating to our national interests and ensuring that our territories are not used for activities harmful to each other's national security and interest,'' Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.

''In a world that is plagued by violence, Bhutan is a bastion of peace and tranquility,'' he said at a banquet hosted in his honour by his Bhutanese counterpart Lyonchhen Jigme Y Thinley here tonight.

Dr Singh was obviously referring to the operations carried out by the Bhutanese army in December, 2003 and January, 2004 to evict insurgent groups that had set up camps on Bhutanese soil.

At their formal talks today, the two sides agreed to continue their cooperation to keep their 700-km-long open border safe and secure.

Dr Singh also welcomed Bhutan...picking up from para five of DF 15 'EXTERNAL-PM-BHUTAN-BANQUET'.

UNI SA HS BD2233

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